I know this is my second post for the day, but I have been waiting for the weather to get this warm for a while, and I wanted to post about my new garden.
In front of my house (on the North side), I have had a huge section of my front lawn tilled under and covered with bark. I did this to make the front yard more draught-resistant, but also because the land wasn't good for anything else. The grass was even dying in that section.
So, after tilling it under and placing down a fabric weed barrier, I covered it with several bags of bark and mulch. The total space is probably 8 feet by 8 feet with the dead center of it planted in flowers and a small, young apple tree. There is a lot of space there that has been, until yesterday, going to waste.
This last fall I had made some extensive planting plans for my yard with the determination to have several vegetables and fruits grown for canning and storing this next fall. I looked at this section of the yard, and decided it was time to use it.
My intention was to plant root vegetables in this section, which requires a very light soil. Not light as in helium, but light as in more sandy than clay. Unfortunately, the vast majority of my yard is clay. So, I placed down six 50 pound bags of play sand, and tilled it in with the dirt. This made a wonderfully light soil, just perfect for root veggies.
Initially I was only going to plant beets in this area. Why beets? Because I love beets! My grandfather grew up on a sugar beet farm in Wyoming, and has instilled the love of a good sweet-pickled beet in my father, who gave that love to me. So I planted Red Detroit beets, Golden beets, and an heirloom beet that my parents found.
Of course, this only took up a small portion of the land I had prepared, far less than I had expected. So I planted some heirloom lemon cucumbers, some watermelon radishes, and my father planted some heirloom white radishes. Still, there is a good portion that is not being used, so I intend to plant some lettuce along those rows.
In between the farrows and mounds I am going to put the bark back. This will not only look pretty good, but it will also help retain water during the summer months.
I'm really excited for this section of the yard, and I'm looking forward to planting the rest. I still need to plant my Broom Corn as a barrier (and can be ground into a nice gluten-free flour, like a cake flour), Bloody Butcher sweet corn (nice, dark red corn, and I liked the name), Strawberry Popcorn (looks like a giant strawberry), Cinderella pumpkins, baby sugar pumpkins, baby watermelon (I'm not sure if the seeds are any good, but I'm going to give it a try), dyer's woad (that's an experiment that comes out really well), pole beans (green, yellow, and purple if I can find it), carrots (red, orange, yellow, white, and purple again), and the tomatoes that we have started (Brandywine Pinks).
If I can help it, all the plants will be heirloom, with a couple of exceptions. I like heirloom plants, because you don't have to keep buying seeds every year. You can plant from the seeds you retain from the last harvest, much like the old farm tradition. So not only does it save you about $10.00 in seeds every year (at least for me), but you know what you will be growing. And the seeds are good for up to 3 years before they start to lose their potency.
Also, I would like to point out that President Obama is also starting a vegetable garden at the White House, with the intention of actually eating the produce. This is great news, and something that every American should be doing. Start a garden, whether it be a sizable plot or a couple of flower pots in your house. You will find that vegetables just don't taste any better than when you grow them yourself.